The following are preliminary county totals for the Oklahoma gubernatorial race as provided by the AP shortly before 10 p.m.
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting graphic today on its website from the latest American Community Survey data. The newspaper ranked all the nation’s metro areas for a quick index for housing stress.
I compiled similar data for the 11 Oklahoma counties covered under the latest ACS data. As you can see, Muskogee County appears to have the highest housing-stress index in Oklahoma. Rogers and Canadian counties are faring the best. The national average is 87.5, so even Muskogee County is faring well compared to the rest of the nation.
The WSJ housing-stress indicator is made up of three components: the percentage of the population not in the labor force; the percentage without health insurance; and the percentage of homeowners with a mortgage spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. From the Real Time Economics blog:
Financial advisers warn against spending more than 30% of a household’s income on housing costs, as it can crimp other expenditures and savings. It also leaves little room for unexpected shocks to income, such as illness or unemployment. Miami was at the top because it had the highest percentage of mortgage holders spending more than 30% on housing among large metro areas — 57.7% compared to the national average of 37.5%. At the same time, a quarter of the city’s residents are without health insurance — compared to the national average of 15% — making it difficult to deal with a the expense created by an illness and still pay a mortgage.
Click on the image below for the WSJ rankings of the metro areas.
Update: You can see the underlying numbers for the Oklahoma counties here.
The Census Bureau came out with new data yesterday on poverty, health insurance coverage and income at the national and state level.
I had a wrap-up of the highlights in today’s paper. Overall, it’s one of those “good news, bad news” reports.
Nationally, poverty rose and health insurance coverage declined in 2009, the Census said. Both are likely traced to the continuing recession.
In Oklahoma, the number of people in poverty declined to about 468,000 people, down from an estimated 484,000 in 2009. But you’d be hard pressed to find many people trumpeting the decline, especially as demand remains high at food banks and the number of people on food stamps continues to grow. (The Oklahoma Department of Human Services reports that more than 588,000 Oklahomans were on food stamps in June 2010, an increase of 19.5 percent from June 2009.)
As with any statistical report, the devil is in the details with the Census data. It’s important to note that this week’s numbers come from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, a long-running Census product that surveys 100,000 households each year:
The Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS ASEC) is designed to give annual, calendar-year, national estimates of income and official poverty numbers and rates. It is, nonetheless, used for many other purposes, including the allocation of federal funding.
. . . The Basic CPS is used to calculate the monthly unemployment rate estimates. Supplements are added in most months; the ASEC is conducted in February, March, and April with a sample of about 100,000 addresses per year. The questionnaire asks about income from more than 50 sources and records up to 27 different income amounts, including receipt of numerous noncash benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (formerly known as the food stamp program), subsidized school lunches, and housing assistance.
The Census tries to caution against too many state-to-state comparisons with the supplemental data, mainly because survey sizes at the the state level are sometimes too small to be meaningful in any given year. That’s partly why I used two-year averages when describing state-level changes in today’s story.
I called the Census yesterday for some explanation, but they needed to research the issue and couldn’t get back to me in time for the newspaper deadline. Here’s what Jessica Smith, a data specialist at the Census Bureau, said about the Oklahoma health insurance anomaly this afternoon:
We couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary with the data, but we don’t recommend people use single-year data for the CPS for single states because the sample sizes are too small.
Meanwhile, the Census will be releasing new data from its American Community Survey later this month. That survey uses a much larger sample size and a different methodology from the Current Population Survey. It will have details from smaller geographies such as counties and Congressional districts:
The American Community Survey (ACS), replaced the decennial census long-form sample questionnaire. The ACS offers broad, comprehensive information on social, economic, and housing data and is designed to provide this information at many levels of geography. During the 2000-2004 testing program, the ACS collected income data for a much larger sample than the CPS ASEC (about 800,000 addresses per year). Beginning in 2005, the ACS sample size grew to about 3 million addresses. As with the decennial census long form, the ACS relies heavily on questionnaire responses mailed in by respondents. These estimates are collected on a rolling basis every month throughout the year, and the questionnaire asks about eight types of income received in the previous 12 months. For example, those interviewed in January 2010 were asked about income received in the January to December 2009 period, and those interviewed in December 2009 were asked about the December 2008 to November 2009 period.
So, don’t be surprised if the American Community Survey data coming out Sept. 28 has a little different picture of the state’s economic and social well-being.
The full list of last-minute contribution totals through Monday (click to enlarge):
Hundreds of campaign donors have given $5,000 each — the maximum allowed by law — to statewide candidates in advance of Tuesday’s primary elections, records show.
- View a list of maxed-out donors here.
From Sunday’s paper:
BY PAUL MONIES and JOHN ESTUS
A sluggish economy hasn’t slowed political donations this campaign season.
As Tuesday’s primary approaches, hundreds of donors have already given $5,000 each — the maximum amount allowed by law — to a statewide campaign, according to an analysis of Ethics Commission campaign finance data.
Some top donors said it’s the economy that has spurred them to give so much this year.
Among them is Devon Energy Corp. Executive Chairman Larry Nichols, who said he’ll consider donating to candidates who are intelligent, hard-working and have a vision based on “sound principles” about where the state should go — particularly from an economic standpoint.
“States either grow or shrink,” Nichols said. “Without a vibrant economy, which is to say good employers and good jobs, the state cannot generate enough resources to do those things that citizens want state governments to do.”
Nichols has given maximum donations to six statewide candidates this campaign season — more than any other donor has given to statewide candidates, the analysis shows.
One of those is the gubernatorial campaign of U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, who has the most maximum donations of any statewide candidate, with 206 from individuals and 17 from political action committees, the analysis shows.
Her campaign has raised $2.4 million.
The 5th Congressional District representative and former lieutenant governor is the favorite to secure the Republican nomination Tuesday.
Her top opponent, state Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, has 11 individual donors who have given $5,000. Brogdon has raised about $392,000.
Attorney General Drew Edmondson has the next highest amount of maxed out donors after Fallin among statewide candidates, with 123 individuals, three political action committees and three American Indian tribes giving $5,000, according to the analysis.
Edmondson’s campaign has raised $2.6 million.
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who is locked in a tight battle with Edmondson for the Democratic nomination for governor, has received 79 maximum donations from individuals, six from political action committees and five from tribes, the analysis shows.
Askins has raised $2.1 million, including $675,000 of her own money she loaned her campaign.
Election year ‘important’ Nichols called this year’s campaign season “probably the most important election in my life” because of the progress Oklahoma has made in recent years.
“Oklahoma is really poised on the edge of being able to attract quality jobs to this state,” Nichols said. “To do that, we need some legislators and some statewide elected officials that have a vision of where this state might go to create a better lifestyle for all of our citizens.”
In addition to Fallin, Nichols also gave $5,000 each to the statewide campaigns of attorney general candidate Scott Pruitt, superintendent of public instruction candidate Janet Barresi, Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, treasurer candidate Rep. Ken Miller, R-Edmond, and lieutenant governor candidate Sen. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond.
Several of Edmondson’s maximum campaign donors did not return calls seeking comment Friday.
Among the maximum donors to Askins is Barry Switzer, the former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach.
Switzer endorsed Askins recently, saying in a radio advertisement that “she’s a great friend, a sports fan and she’ll be a great governor.”
The coach added: “And not to mention, she’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet.”
Who are the maxed-out donors?
The maxed-out campaign contributors to statewide candidates are overwhelmingly from the legal profession and business.
Almost $3.4 million has come so far from individual donors who have contributed $5,000 to various state campaigns.
More than 20 percent of the big contributors identified themselves as attorneys or lawyers. Their combined giving so far to statewide candidates is more than $700,000.
Business executives also were big donors, with more than $700,000 coming from people describing themselves as chief executive officers, owners, presidents or management employees. Other big donors were either retired, doctors or bankers.
More than $3 million came from Oklahoma residents. Big-donor Texans contributed more than $85,000, while at least $30,000 came from Arizona.
Donors report their occupation and employer to campaigns, which then file reports to the state Ethics Commission. Many donors choose not to report, making exact comparisons difficult.
–Paul Monies, Database Editor
Maxed-out donors at a glance
Candidates have already received hundreds of maximum contributions from donors — individuals, political action committees or tribes — this election season. (i = incumbent)
Mary Fallin (R)
Drew Edmondson (D)
Jari Askins (D)
Randy Brogdon (R)
Roger Jackson (R)
Todd Lamb (R)
Kenneth Corn (D)
Paul Nosak (R)
Ryan Leonard (R)
Scott Pruitt (R)
Jim Priest (D)
Ken Miller (R)
Owen Laughlin (R)
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
Janet Barresi (R)
Susan Paddack (D)
AUDITOR AND INSPECTOR
i-Steve Burrage (D)
Gary Jones (R)
i-Kim Holland (D)
John Crawford (R)
John Doak (R)
i-Lloyd Fields (D)
Jason Reese (R)
i-Dana Murphy (R)
Source: Oklahoma Ethics Commission data through July 23, 2010; Data analysis by Staff Writers Paul Monies and John Estus
Our Capitol reporter Michael McNutt has been filing daily stories on last-minute contributions ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Here’s his latest.
I downloaded state Ethics Commission data to get the totals so far since July 12. Here’s a few graphics from that data, with the overall late contributions through Friday and then one broken down by type of contributor.
Thanks to some enterprising lawmakers, we got early word this afternoon on details of the FY 2011 budget agreement announced today. These data visualizations are from this spreadsheet posted at Google Spreadsheets.
The first one is what’s called a tree map, which compares the whole amounts appropriated by agency from what it received in FY 2010 and what is proposed under the agreement for FY 2011. The intensity of orange shading shows an increase, while the intensity of blue shading shows a decrease.
This next one is called a bubble chart. It’s just a snapshot of the FY 2011 amounts by agency, with the size of the circles relative to their share of the overall budget agreement amount. The color of the circle is the category of government the agency fits under.
To view full size visualizations (with enhanced interactivity) at the Many Eyes website, just click on the following links:
With the budget deficit, state lawmakers are taking another look at the wisdom of granting tax credits to various industries. Our Capitol reporters have several stories on the subject in today’s paper:
- Oklahoma House panel wants tax credits more transparent
- Oklahoma lawmakers discuss ending tax credits for small business venture capital companies
The state provides some information on who has claimed income tax credits on a section of its Open Books site. It’s a fairly good presentation, but it doesn’t allow you to download the raw data or do any kind of aggregation. I contacted the Office of State Finance to get some of the raw data provided to them by the Oklahoma Tax Commission. You can download it yourself here.
For 2007 and 2008, at least $256 million in Oklahoma income tax credits were claimed, according to the data. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at what types of income tax credits are being claimed.
Some words of caution: Some of the numbers in the data provided by the Office of State Finance and Oklahoma Tax Commission do not reflect what’s in today’s stories. That’s partly because claimants can carry forward unused credits for some credits to use against their tax liabilities in future years. Also, as the stories make clear, tracking the tax credits is murky at best. This data shows just income tax credits claimed, not credits claimed against gross production taxes or insurance premium taxes. More on that here.
(Full disclosure: My employer, The Oklahoma Publishing Co & Subs, shows up several times in the data for various income tax credits for a total of $366,000 in 2007 and 2008.)
I’m not going to get into the merits or drawbacks of the estate tax, which is called the “death tax” by its critics. But according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the state’s estate tax snagged 10,083 filers in fiscal year 2009 (figures for earlier years were not available today).
Here’s a chart on the amount of revenue Oklahoma’s estate tax has brought in from FY 1986 to FY 2008:
As you can see, the revenues have been declining for the last few years, although I’m curious why so much was raised in 2004.
This is long period, so it helps to adjust the revenue figures for inflation. Here’s the same information, this time in 2008 dollars:
At the federal level, the estate tax has affected a much smaller slice of Oklahoma taxpayers. Here’s the numbers, compiled from the IRS Statistics of Income Division.
Keep in mind, amounts are in thousands of dollars, so what you see below for 2008 for the net estate tax would be $170.9 million from 138 Oklahoma filers who were subject to the federal estate tax (click image to see a larger version):
When the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act passed back in February, its backers promised an unparalleled level of disclosure about where the money is going. While I applaud the sentiment, the release of stimulus data in the last month has been anything but smooth.
It’s a classic case of over-promising and under-delivering.
Since much of the direct stimulus aid goes to state capitals, any attempt to analyze stimulus spending by Congressional district alone would skew the figures. In the chart below, about half of the stimulus awards in Oklahoma — $1.3 billion — is going to the 5th Congressional District, which includes Oklahoma City.
After our story came out today, one reader e-mailed and said recipients could have entered their state House or Senate districts by mistake instead of the Congressional districts. For me, more troubling than the so-called “fake” Congressional districts is the fact that a good chunk of the data don’t include any Congressional district at all (the “Null” field above).
Still, in the wake of all the negative press about the Congressional districts, the officials behind Recovery.gov said they have updated the data on the site that erroneously placed stimulus awards in nonexistent districts.
If a recipient reported an incorrect or invalid congressional district, the code “ZZ” appears in the “Congressional District” field as a placeholder. The recipient will change the report with the correct congressional district during the next reporting period, beginning January 1, 2010.
Also, the federal watchdogs in charge of stimulus spending were grilled on Capitol Hill this morning. In a related report, the Government Accountability Office had some interesting things to say about how stimulus transparency has fared so far. What I found interesting is its investigators started doing error analysis on the same day the data was released to the general public.
GAO performed an initial set of basic analyses on the final recipient report data that first became available at www.recovery.gov on October 30, 2009; reviewed documents; interviewed relevant state and federal officials; and conducted fieldwork in selected states, focusing on a sample of highway and education projects.
While much of the blame for erroneous or missing data is being placed at the recipients who filled out the Web forms on FederalReporting.gov, many are asking if there shouldn’t be some type of validation for the data before it’s released to the public.
The guidance released back in the summer by the Office of Management and Budget lays out who is responsible for data quality in stimulus reporting.
Data quality is an important responsibility of key stakeholders identified in the Recovery Act. Prime recipients, as owners of the data submitted, have the principal responsibility for the quality of the information submitted. Sub-recipients delegated to report on behalf of prime recipients share in this responsibility. Agencies funding Recovery Act projects and activities provide a layer of oversight that augments recipient data quality. Oversight authorities including the OMB, the Recovery Board, and Federal agency Inspectors General also have roles to play in data quality. The general public and non-governmental entities interested in “good government” can help with data quality, as well, by highlighting problems for correction.
To be fair, more than 100,000 reports on stimulus spending have been filed so far. Some data entry errors or miscategorizations were bound to happen when you have that many people filling in Web forms. Here’s what the GAO said it found:
Our review also identified a number of cases in which other anomalies suggest a need for review: discrepancies between award amounts and the amounts reported as received, implausible amounts, or misidentification of awarding agencies. While these occurred in a relatively small number of cases, they indicate the need for further data quality efforts.
Officials hope that future stimulus reports will contain fewer errors as recipients become more comfortable filling out the forms and the requirements are refined. In the meantime, Recovery.gov could make an easy fix by allowing users of the site to flag data that plainly looks wrong. It could function much like the “star ratings” systems on other sites, where users could “grade” their view of the data accuracy in a report.
UPDATE, 6:10 p.m., 11/19/09: From the prepared remarks of the Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board:
These mistakes do not surprise me, however, and in a serendipitious way, they are not unequivocally bad. In reality, this data should serve in the long run as evidence of what transparency can achieve.
In the past, this data would have been scrubbed from top to bottom before its release, and the agencies would never have released the information until it was perfect. You — and the American public — are now seeing what agencies have seen, internally, in the past. And what we are all seeing, at least following this first reporting period, is not particularly pretty.
This raw-form, unsanitized data may cause embarrassment for some agencies and recipients, but my expectation is that any embarrassment suffered will encourage self-correcting behavior and lead to more accurate reporting in the future.